Let me be up front about a couple of things. I don't hate or dislike opponents of the proposed Minnesota Vikings stadium. I understand that there are genuine philosophical reasons as to why people would be against it. Some people believe that under no circumstances should things like stadiums be financed by anyone other than the person or corporation that wants to build proposed stadium, in this case Zygi Wilf and the National Football League.
I'm probably not going to change the minds of the anti-public financing zealot; that is not my intent. I'm reaching out to you, the fence sitter, be you Minnesota politician or fan, unsure of what to make of this whole deal. There was something that was posted on what is essentially an anti-stadium blog earlier today that needs to be rebutted, so I'm going to do it here.
It starts out as you would expect:
BLOOMINGTON, MN – Vikings fans gathered at the Mall of America at noon to demonstrate their lack of financial support for a stadium. Fans called upon state legislators to extract money from Minneapolis taxpayers, and gamblers across the state, to subsidize their game day experience to the tune of $77 per ticket for the next 30 years.
Actually, what we're trying to do is create 8,000 construction jobs in an area that has an unemployment rate of almost 40% in the construction industry. Oh, we're also trying to keep a 51 year tradition in the state of Minnesota. A tradition that has seen 3 and 4 generations of Minnesotans bond over countless moments of thrills, excitement, and yes, heartbreak.
Oh, and that 'extraction' that this post talked about? Not so much. When it's all said and done, there's over a $500 million payback over the course of the life of the new lease of a Vikings stadium.
According to the CSL calculations, those taxes grow to about $1 billion over 30 years — the expected life of a stadium. That would be a net surplus of about $500 million to the state over the typical life of a modern stadium. The Metrodome has lasted 30 years.
Theory one, blown out of the water. But it only gets better. Follow me, after the jump for more.
The second paragraph is a classic red herring, meant to do nothing but incite class warfare and completely obfuscate the argument at hand:
Fans were joined by Vikings defensive end, Jared Allen. Allen, who’s $73,260,000 6-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings would cover nearly half of Minneapolis’ $150 million share of the stadium construction costs, asked fans to extract money from thousandaires for the benefit of millionaires.
Ah yes, let's use the salary of an employee--a union member, to boot--to try and further blur the edges of your already weak position. What, exactly, does an individual employee salary have to do with the cost of the stadium, regardless of how much they make? Exactly nothing. If we want to go down that road, let's break it down even further. Beer vendors who work sections could pay for the seats in that section, ticket agents could pay for their own booth, and the grounds keepers could pay for the turf. What? That's just a silly ass argument? Yeah, yeah it is.
But WAIT, THERE'S MORE:
Governor Mark Dayton also attended. He encouraged fans to call legislators to vote to redistribute money from non-Vikings fans to a private business owned by a guy in New Jersey to make up for the lack of stadium support from local businesses.
No, what Governor Dayton did is encourage stadium supporters to get politically active, and fight to preserve the MINNESOTA Vikings. Fight to preserve over the $12.5 million/yr in tax revenues that just the players and Vikings employees bring in. Fight to preserve over the $5 million/yr in just the sales taxes produced within the stadium in terms of beer and food sales. Fight to preserve the money that out of state Vikings fans bring in every weekend.
Yes, out of state fans, who make up almost 25% of the fans on any given weekend, come into Minnesota and pump millions into the Minnesota economy, and almost 40% of fans that go to a game are from outside the Metro area. That equates to 140,000 people coming in from out of the metro area just to go to the Vikings games, and they spend an average of $107 for each game. So, 140,000 x 107 x 30 (years of the lease of the new stadium) = over $343 million.
If the Vikings leave, how do you think the state will recoup that $343 million?
Now, one of the arguments against all that money the out of staters bring in to Minnesota is what is called the "Substitution Effect'. Simply stated, that means that if you have discretionary money that you would spend on everything associated with going to the Vikings game, that if the Vikings were not there you would simply spend that money on something else within the local economy.
That's all fine and well if you're talking about a gameday population that mostly resided within the Twin Cities metro area...but we're not. Let's use an example of...me, for instance. I live out of state, about an 8 or 9 hour drive from Minneapolis. When I go to a game, I get a hotel, tickets, eat at restaurants, blah blah blah, you get the picture. The Substitution Effect says that if I don't spend that money on the Vikings, I'll spend it someplace else locally. Which is true. But for me, locally is St. Louis, not Minneapolis. And locally for 40% of Vikings fans isn't the TC metro area. So that's money that may get spent, but I guarantee you it won't be in Minneapolis once, much less 8 times for the folks that are season ticket holders.
So when somebody yells RAAAAAWR SUBSTITUTION EFFECT RAAAAAWR in your face, just use this as your reference. Because they're full of shit.
And lastly, this was a cheap shot:
Vikings fans considered the rally – which asked nothing of fans but to call legislators to demand corporate welfare for a New Jersey businessman – a success worthy of a trip to Hooters:
We've already deconstructed the financials, so I won't rehash that. But what does it matter where one spends their discretionary income? It seems you're looking down at these people, your fellow Minnesotans, because thy're choosing to do something that they enjoy, and it's not harming anyone, nor is it illegal.
What, would you rather they be at the publicly subsidized Guthrie Theater?